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Op-Ed: King's warning on sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity evident in recent days

Ah, 2021.

Many are hoping for positive changes given the advent of our now-normal, primarily driven by the pandemic. When you think about it, there are some positive signs and turning for the better. The election cycle concludes, new faces are in familiar places, and in certain demographics, the dates of January 5th, January 9th, January 13th, January 15th, and January 16th are reasons to celebrate.

And then there are two dates that come to mind that remind us of one of the more timely yet poignant remarks by the Dreamer:

"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity".

On January 6, 2021, a day which is reserved for more ceremony than anything else (the final proclamation of the Electoral College votes), a group of domestic terrorists are granted center stage. There is nothing patriotic about buying into a proven false narrative about voting gerrymandering when we can recall two demographics who systematically had their right to vote denied or delayed; the last time I checked, women did not get the right to vote until 1920 via the Women's Suffrage Movement. Likewise, in 1965, the Voting Rights Act is signed to protect the rights of African-Americans to vote; even though Amendments such as the 14th, 15th, and 24th are in place to ensure standards ranging from citizenship to the right to vote, there are clear measures utilized from redistricting to the potential limiting of voting access.

When your rights and access are denied, that is one thing. To falsely protest an election is something completely different.

And without saying too many names, the shenanigans (ok, attempted coup, but we'll stick with calling it shenanigans for the time being) which take place are a display of ignorance and worse running rampant, but when irresponsible leadership is at the forefront of it all and focuses on absolving themselves of responsibility for putting kerosene on a fire, it creates a tumultuous scenario. Granted, a similar instance takes place last summer in Michigan, but to see the degree of ignorance displayed and the co-signature of elements of law enforcement and government official complicit in such actions, the Dreamer's statement rings even louder.

And we won't get into all the responses, ranging from one person jailed requesting organic food, to others being apologetic for being caught, but not for the ill-mannered and minded though and actions they clearly focused on doing.

And consider how it could have been worse.

But let's not forget local areas of concern.

In fact, on January 4, 2021, a group of concerned school board members make a recommendation to delay in-person instruction for students in one of (if not) the biggest school system in the state of Georgia. It was not done so in a manner to neglect the poll data of parents where 44% of those surveyed wanted to keep their students at home (a decrease from the 56% in the fall semester). In fact, their logic can be centered around the data showing an increase in the Covid rates, as to date, the reported rate is now 930 (or more) cases per 100,000 people, along with a need to strengthen the protocols to better address this public health issue, including setting up a task force to other means so when students, faculty, staff, and administration return, they can do so in a safer context.

And leadership's response was to disregard the date and such logic; how ironic a system, specifically its leadership, shunning the very means and methods to hypothesize, assess, and evaluate to provide a feasible action plan.

Then on January 11, 2021, an article ivia the AJC reports public school employee Maude Jones, a paraprofessional, passes due to catching Covid in their place of work (their school). Recently released data shows said workplace and health challenges are on the rise within the very schools that some want to eagerly return, including the highest levels of the district leadership. While a subsequent change is made after this report is released (digital instruction is confirmed for all students January 19th through 22nd, even though faculty and administration are among those who have to report), there's a question of what lies ahead for the following week.

It would appear said upper level leadership is more concerned about public appeasement compared to public safety.

If this is the case, then the statement rings even louder.

As Monday, January 18, 2021 approaches, it's a day to celebrate the efforts of an Atlanta-native, Morehouse College alumnus, member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, minister of Ebenezer Baptist Church, winner of the Nobel Peace Price, and purveyor of hope and constructive social change, even when the public (up to 75% of those polled disapproved of his efforts) did not always agree (until years later when his birthday is deemed a national holiday). Amazing how decisions, ranging from highlighting housing discrimination to protecting the rights of Black folk to vote, aren't done because it's the popular thing to do, but the right thing to do.

Amazing that on the eve of this special day, we are reminded that nothing is arguably more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

Here's to hoping more wake up and get in tune with the larger dreams and goals of making society greater than we are instead of wallowing in the mire of ignorance and worse. While there may be some dark and difficult days ahead, given the optimism leading to January 20, 2021 and beyond, the focus has to remain on moving our local communities, municipalities, states, and nation (and beyond) onward and upward in a more positive space and place.

In doing so, ignorance and conscientious stupidity, have no place in this or any society.

Then again, he did share this with us and all y'all.

Perhaps now is an even more essential time to listen, do, and be greater than what we are.

Notes: photo credit/compliments of Getty Images.


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